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Counterparty Risk and the Establishment of the New York Stock Exchange Clearinghouse

Author

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  • Asaf Bernstein
  • Eric Hughson
  • Marc D. Weidenmier

Abstract

Heightened counterparty risk during the recent financial crisis has raised questions about the role clearinghouses play in global financial stability. Empirical identification of the effect of centralized clearing on counterparty risk is challenging because of the co-incidence of macro-economic turbulence and the introduction of clearinghouses. We overcome these concerns by examining a novel historical experiment, the establishment of a clearinghouse on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 1892. During this period the largest NYSE stocks were also listed on the Consolidated Stock Exchange (CSE), which already had a clearinghouse. Using identical securities on the CSE as a control, we find that the introduction of clearing reduced annualized volatility of NYSE returns by 90-173bps and increased asset values. Prior to clearing, shocks to overnight lending rates reduced the value of stocks on the NYSE, relative to identical stocks on the CSE, but this was no longer true after the establishment of clearing. We also show that at least ½ of the average reduction in counterparty risk on the NYSE is driven by a reduction in contagion risk - the risk of a cascade of broker defaults. Our results indicate that clearing can cause a significant improvement in market stability and value through a reduction in network contagion and counterparty risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Asaf Bernstein & Eric Hughson & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2014. "Counterparty Risk and the Establishment of the New York Stock Exchange Clearinghouse," NBER Working Papers 20459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20459
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Caroline Fohlin & Thomas Gehrig & Marlene Haas, 2015. "Rumors and Runs in Opaque Markets: Evidence from the Panic of 1907," Emory Economics 1503, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    2. Bignon, Vincent & Vuillemey, Guillaume, 2016. "The Failure of a Clearinghouse: Empirical Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 11630, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Castelle, Michael, 2016. "Marketplace platforms or exchanges? Financial metaphors for regulating the collaborative economy," economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, vol. 17(3), pages 14-26.
    4. Gehrig, Thomas Paul & Fohlin, Caroline & Haas, Marlene, 2015. "Liquidty Freezes and Market Runs; Evidencefrom the Panic of 1907," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113008, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Albert Menkveld & Emiliano Pagnotta & Marius Andrei Zoican, 2016. "Does Central Clearing Affect Price Stability? Evidence from Nordic Equity Markets," Working Papers hal-01253702, HAL.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G0 - Financial Economics - - General
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • N2 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions
    • N21 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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